November 2015

לְכוּ נְרַנְּנָה לַיהֹוָה נָרִיעָה לְצוּר יִשְׁעֵנוּ

Let us Sing to the Eternal, rejoice in our Creator, Ps. 95

שִׁירוּ לַיהֹוָה שִׁיר חָדָשׁ

Sing a new song to the Lord, Ps. 96

These verses, from the opening lines of our Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat Services, help us transition from the weekday secular world into the joyousness, rest, and renewal of Shabbat. Singing songs of joy together helps us connect to God and celebrate Shabbat. The Hebrew word for singing together in one harmonious chorus is “pizmon.” Pizmon is also the name of the collegiate Jewish a cappella group comprised of students from Columbia University, Barnard College, and Jewish Theological Seminary’s List College. What is truly exciting is that Pizmon is coming to TBS and Metrowest to share with us the joyousness of Shabbat song and prayer November 5th, 6th, and 7th.

I’m thrilled that Pizmon is coming to our synagogue and the area for four reasons:

First, I’ve been a huge a cappella fan since college, although my alma mata didn’t have a Jewish group. Today, there are a multitude of Jewish collegiate a cappella groups nationally; Pizmon stands out as the first. A number of friends from my seminary days were members. It is incredible what they can do with just the human voice and no instrumental accompaniment.   Pizmon has even performed during the White House Hanukkah party.

The second reason I’m excited is that the Pizmon weekend is a collaborate venture between TBS, Temple Beth Am, and the MetroWest Jewish Day School. Over the course of the first weekend in November, Pizmon will be leading services, performing an exciting public concert, leading youth discussion groups, and teaching in our various schools about the love of Jewish music. On Shabbat, Pizmon will be at TBS leading a community Kabbalat Shabbat and evening service and will return Saturday morning to lead services, read Torah, and share a “singing D’var Torah” with us. Many of the melodies they use are famous Carlbach tunes.

The third great reason for Pizmon being with us is their concert on Saturday night at Temple Beth Am. The concert will be the centerpiece of the weekend and you can purchase tickets through our website or by calling TBA. Tickets will also be available at the door. What is particularly exciting is that after the concert, they will lead a discussion with all of our high school students about Jewish life at college.

Finally, Pizmon will do some teaching about a cappella music to our religious school students during a joint session with TBA students at Temple Beth Am on Sunday morning. I can’t think of a better way to inspire young children about Jewish singing than this special opportunity.

As you can see, the first weekend of November will give our entire community many reasons to rejoice with new songs of praise to God.


Rabbi, Dr. Larry Bazer